#166 Picking Capulín by H. Marie Aragón

In a small tin bucket
she carefully strips
the branch of capulín.
Juices fill the creases
of her fingers stained
crimson and purple.

Tía Corina, always wears
an apron over a cotton dress;
she has a hump on her back,
no teeth, never a lover.

She helps her mother
clean the house, make the beds,
prepare the food
wash the breakfast dishes
as her sisters walk to school –
the school that her father built.

The Spanish Peaks stand in the distance.
A fleeting scent of pine needles,
sweet clover and wild lilies tease her senses.
En los campos de verano
her daily world vanishes.

Come late August,
the green chokecherry leaves
turn red, mustard, then brown.
Keep the horses at a distance as
dry leaves are sweeten with poison,
but the fruit is ripe for jam.

Boil jars twice for safety
apples for pectin, cook then crush.
Capulín bubbles in la olla
on the wood-burning stove.

She tests the jam on warm tortillas –
astringent taste of capulín makes
her mouth water – confuses the palate.

After the purple jars are stored in the winter cupboard –
Tía Carina unties her apron, puts on her camisón,
takes down her bun, lays her head on the pillow
and dreams of sweet clover, wild lilies
y el rio that runs to the sea.

*Translations:

Tia Corina                          (Aunt Corrine)

En los campos de verano   (In the summer fields)

la olla                                   (cooking pot)

camisón                               (night gown)

rio                                        (river)

Published Spring 2011, Malpaís Review Vol, 1, NO. 4

H. Marie Aragón, a member of High Desert Poets lives and writes in Santa Fe.   Her work is often grounded in her ancestral history in New Mexico and Colorado.  Marie’s work is published in various literary magazines.


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